The Urbana City Council on Tuesday was presented with a measure that would result in the creation of a board to oversee operations at Oak Dale Cemetery.
The ordinance, which underwent a first reading, mentions Director of Administration Kerry Brugger, who is currently responsible for supervision of the cemetery under the city’s codified ordinances, has done an extensive review of the current procedures at the city-owned cemetery and believes it would benefit from the oversight of a cemetery board.
“We pride ourselves on trying to keep things maintained and current (at Oak Dale Cemetery),” Brugger said. “One of the challenges we’ve experienced over the last several years is not having a real full-time attendant.
“We don’t really have somebody available day in and day out to meet with the public, address ongoing maintenance issues, and issues of development and growth. You do the best you can do with what you have,” he added.
Currently, the primary personnel at the cemetery consists of Cemetery Superintendent Chris Stokes, who also is superintendent of the Parks and Recreation Division, and Susan Tehan, cemetery coordinator. Under her yearly contract with the city, Tehan handles burial arrangements with local funeral directors as well as the purchases of lots and crypts.
“I think Chris, Susan and the staff out there have done an admirable job over the last few years,” Brugger said. “We are keeping things together, but it’s not really maintained to the level it needs to be to preserved. There is a lot of history out there, and if we don’t do something different, we are not going to get anything different.”
While the final details will be ironed out prior to council voting on the measure following a third reading on April 19, Brugger said, the primary goals of the board will be to oversee operations and help the city put together a strategy for the long-term future of the cemetery.
The ordinance calls for the board to consist of at least five voting members appointed by the mayor and a nonvoting member of council appointed by the president of council. Voting members would serve three-year, unpaid terms.
“We just need to get some people who are really committed and energetic about embracing the cemetery and bringing the community into the cemetery,” Brugger said.
Any residents interested in joining the cemetery board are asked to contact Mayor Bill Bean at 937-652-4300.
Based on recommendations from administration, council agreed to spend nearly $95,000 for a new pickup truck, skid steer loader and four riding mowers.
The most expensive of the purchases – a $48,303.55 John Deere 328E two-speed skid steer loader from Koenig Equipment of Urbana – will be used at the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) and to help the Street Department with snow removal.
Wastewater Superintendent Chad Hall said the WRF’s current 2002 skid steer loader will be placed up for bid on GovDeals.com where he estimates it could bring in approximately $18,000. The current trade-in value, he said, is between $13,000 to $14,000.
The WRF will also be receiving a new 2016 Ford F-250 pickup truck from White’s Ford of Urbana at a cost of $26,858.
Instead of trading in the facility’s current 2004 Ford F-150, the pickup truck will be transferred to the Parks and Recreation Division.
Just in time for mowing season, council agreed to purchase from East Lawn & Garden in Urbana three 60-inch Snapper zero-turn mowers at a combined cost of $9,300, which includes the trade-in values of three Cub Cadet mowers. Two of the mowers will be used by the Parks & Recreation Division, while one will be designated for use at the WRF.
Grimes Field will also receive a new piece of equipment in the form of a 15-foot Woods batwing mower, which will be purchased from Lantz Sales and Service in Urbana at a cost of $9,995 with trade-in.
In other business:
•Pointe North, city-owned land containing several fishing holes at 2222 N. U.S. Route 68, is now open for the 2016 season. Unlike a year ago, Brugger said, all fishing at Pointe North is now strictly catch and release, and only barbless hooks are permitted.
•Council passed on third and final reading a resolution authorizing Brugger to submit an application detailing the city’s desire to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program.
If awarded a grant through the program, Brugger said, the funds would be used to extend taxiway C at Grimes Field. Extending the taxiway, he said, would give pilots an alternate path to the hangars and would provide the necessary asphalt path needed to construct more hangars in the future.
•A resolution authorizing Brugger to submit an application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for funding through the Round 23 Natureworks Program underwent a first reading.
If a grant is awarded to the city, it would be used to install a PVC membrane liner at the municipal pool, Director of Finance Chris Boettcher said.
•Council waived the three-readings rule and passed on first reading a resolution accepting the Tax Incentive Review Council’s annual report on the city’s enterprise zone, Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) and Tax Incentive Fund (TIF) agreements.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.